SEATTLE – Seattle University women’s basketball fell in heartbreaking fashion to Grand Canyon Saturday afternoon, as the Lopes escaped with a 74-73 triple-overtime win in a Western Athletic Conference (WAC) game at the Redhawk Center. The game was the longest in SU's Division I history.
“I would like for anyone to tell me these kids did not play like champions today," said Coach Suzy Barcomb. "There were too many amazing plays and gritty performances to single out one or two. I'm just heartbroken for the players, but I'm incredibly proud."
Olivia Crawford finished a putback with 1.2 seconds left in the second OT, putting the Redhawks ahead by a point. GCU drew a foul on its possession, though, and split the free throws to force a third extra session.
Delaney McCann hit a key three-pointer and Kamira Sanders scored twice in the final minute as the Redhawks grabbed a 73-72 lead in the last 20 seconds. ShaRon Miller of GCU sank a jumper with under six seconds remaining to put her side up. Sanders long heave was wide, allowing the Lopes to pull out the dramatic win.
Both teams started well offensively, with Joana Alves and Sanders both converting inside to offset a pair of GCU buckets. Madeline Dopplick and Carla Bieg followed with scores, but the visitors maintained to the midway point of the period, grabbing a 12-8 advantage at the 5:56 mark.
The Redhawks followed with a 13-0 run to swing momentum in their favor. McCann finished in the lane and then Bieg sank a jumper. Courtney Murphy drained a three-pointer to put SU ahead. Alves followed with two lay-ins and Sanders scored with 1:20 to go in the first, making it 21-12.
The Lopes closed with four straight points to get within five after a quarter.
GCU got the better of the early going in the second period, taking a 23-21 margin. Bieg swished a triple to regain SU’s lead and then Crawford drove and scored twice. The visitors hit two foul shots to go back up, but Murphy nailed a three with 2:20 left in the half, putting the hosts ahead, 31-29. A Bieg jumper stretched the margin, but GCU hit a three in the final minute, making it 33-32 SU at halftime.
In the third period, the Seattle U defense carried the load. The Redhawks expanded their lead to eight points over the 10-minute span, harassing the Lopes into 1-8 field-goal shooting. Layups by Alves, Crawford, and Alves again put the home side up by seven. GCU finally got on the board at the 3:47 mark, but two Dopplick free throws and another Bieg bucket gave SU a 44-36 difference entering the fourth.
Sanders finished with 16 points, a career-high 14 rebounds, and eight assists in 48 minutes. Bieg matched her career high with 15 points and nine rebounds off the bench, while Crawford contributed 11 points. Murphy and Alves both added 10 points.
SU wraps up its three-game home stand next weekend, as Utah Valley visits the Redhawk Center on Saturday, Jan. 12. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.